Do remember, though, that date information coded with proof and Proof-House inspection, viewing or identification marks, does not necessarily coincide with the date of manufacture. have, for many years, been legally required to carry proof marks from one or other of the Proof Houses.Because many rifles may have been imported or, prior to sale on the civilian market, have only had military proof marks, then dating from the Birmingham or London Proof House marks needs to be treated with a degree of both caution and common sense. This is mandatory, in the interests of public and personal safety, and any imported, previously un-proved firearm or "Sold out of Service" ex-military arm must be so proved. product where possible, and charges a fee which is donated to one or other of his chosen charities.
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This so-called "secret" marking system was as follows, with the marks illustrated below applying as indicated. From 1921 to 1951 Figure 1 applies, and for firearms proved between mid 1921 and mid 1922 the code letter is A.
Lest they were confused with other characters, I and Q were not utilised, so the date letters to 1941 were as follows 1922/23 - B; 1923/24 - C; 1924/25 - D; 1925/26 - E; 1926/27 - F; 1927/28 - G; 1928/29 - H; 1929/30 - J; 1930/31 - K; 1931/32 - L; 1932/33 - M; 1933/34 - N; 1934/35 - O; 1935/36 - P; 1936/37 - R; 1937/38 - S; 1938/39 - T; 1939/40 - U; 1940/41 - V.
The problem here is that, unlike silver hallmarking, the Proof House codes were only introduced in 1921 and have been only intermittently applied since then, almost on the whim of the Proof Master incumbent at any particular time. production was proved at Birmingham and the marks should therefore comply with these series.
The system ceased to be used during 1941, since there was practically no civilian firearm production for the next five or six years, and, with war-time production levels reaching unprecedented proportions, almost all military proofing was effected within the various manufacturing facilities by Government inspectors. However, such date codes as there are are still useful in dating the many firearms manufactured between the First and Second World Wars, including much output from the Birmingham Small Arms Company ( see also BSA Rifles), as indeed is true post 1952 for those rifles more recently falling into the classic class. These marks are also not to be confused with the crossed flags stamp of the miltary proof markings, which may carry similar letter codes identifying the country and/or place of inspection.
Anschutz target rifles fall into this category, and their system is given on the page for these rifles.
Quite apart from such dating information as we have been able to provide on many of the individual rifle types included on this website, there are other ways in which you may be able to confirm the date of manufacture, or at least the date of proof, of your rifle.Basic information on these lines is on site from our .You may not necessarily find specific date information within the text of particular pages, but often the images of advertisements or catalogue entries contain some dating 'give-away', such as the year in which a particular rifle achieved a notable competition score by someone, but which data is in graphic format and therefore not "searchable" by a text search engine.However, if an estimate of the rifle's age from other sources closely matches the date marks, then you probably have pinned down when it was made within a year or so. The ISBN numbers for these reference books are in the bibliography. When inspecting your rifle and comparing marks with reference sources, be careful not to confuse date marks, or "private view marks", with inspectors marks, which usually carry the factory identification, e.g., "E" for Enfield, under the sovereign's crown, below which is the inspector's identification number; usually two figures such as "39". rifles the Proof mark is only on the barrel (and on the action falling-block), and the third mark on the barrel is the 'NP' mark for Nitro-Proof, also below the crown.British and Commonwealth Service rifles can sometimes be dated by their serial numbers and prefixes, and the manufacturing works can be identified by manufacturers' coded leter and number marks. This is not a date mark, although occasionally the number may coincidentally seem to relate to one's approximate estimate of the rifle's age; it does not. Proof , View and Black Powder or Nitro-Proof marks have to be easily visible to, for instance, the purchaser of a firearm.It is worth mentioning one or two books in particular from which much data relevant to this website's subject matter can be sought. However, date marks such as are under discussion and described below, are usually out of sight on the under-side of the barrel, and removal of fore-end furniture may be necessary to find them.